Don’t call it ‘yoga’ if you’re going to remove the Hindu from it
A war on yoga?
I saw a story from Georgia where yoga classes at an elementary school will be changed to reassure Christian parents who worry their children were being taught a Hindu belief system.
The principal of Bullard Elementary says students will no longer be directed to use the Hindu greeting “Namaste.”
I wondered how Hindus feel about that so I called the Hindu American Foundation and spoke with Senior Director Sheetal Shah.
“As a parent I could understand why another parent might object to having their child use that term,” she said.
Becuase it is religious, she says. The underlying basis of “namaste” is basically that the divine in me bows to the divine in you, she explained.
But Christians are always complaining about taking Christ out of Christmas. So isn’t taking the Hindu out of Yoga the same thing?
“Yes … Yoga has become kind of a commercialized, popularized fitness fad,” she said.
The Hindu American Foundation has been running a “Take Yoga Back” campaign to remind people of its origins. But Shah also told me that if the Hindu part makes the parents uncomfortable that the foundation wouldn’t want to take away from the well-being of children.
However, if you’re going to take out the Hindu parts of yoga, you should say that what you’re doing is based on yoga. Real yoga is not just about thin people in yoga pants anymore than Christmas is just about a fat guy in a red suit.